TAMPA, Fla. - After a marathon session on Monday, the Hillsborough Emergency Policy Group finally made it official. A mandatory facemask mandate is going into effect.
But is the mandate legal? Criminal defense attorney Patrick Leduc is again sounding the alarm bells.
"I'm not trying to be the Grinch," Leduc insisted.
But after reviewing the new executive order, he says the EPG got it wrong again.
"A good idea, horribly executed,” he offered.
Leduc says the EPG doesn't have the lawful authority to pass such a mandate, claiming that job goes to the Hillsborough County Commission.
Under the EPG’s mask rule, businesses will have to make sure all of their employees and customers are using facemasks if they can’t social distance. Otherwise, the business owner could face fines and penalties.
Leduc says that’s unlawful too.
"We're making the business owner act as an agent of law enforcement," Leduc said.
The last time Leduc squared off with the EPG was when they passed a curfew in the county. Leduc said that violated our rights and the Constitution and threatened a lawsuit.
A few days later, the EPG dropped the curfew and Leduc dropped his suit.
But now he is ready to go to battle with the EPG again, and again he says he plans to win.
"I can envision a situation where I bring a lawsuit that this thing is going to die. I think we're going to see the curfew all over again,” chuckled Leduc.
Leduc hopes the EPG comes to their senses soon; otherwise, he says, he will begin drafting a new lawsuit.